The act of writing, of sharing the circumstances, the gifts and the graces planned and carried out by my Savior and God brings joy, peace, and contentment to know that He has my life in His hands. My prayer for those who read, who share in what I continue to learn each day, many times through my weakness, is that you will be encouraged to look for God's presence and grace in your life also.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

One anothers.....

 Fifty-nine times.....yes, I said 59 times or is that 5 times 10 plus 9 equals 59 times from Matthew to Revelation the phrase "one another" [each other] is used.  And most of them imperative sentences—commands—sometimes polite and sometimes with an exclamation point at the end.

So what?? So we must listen and then obey.  I mean 59 times must mean the command is important and has serious implications.

"For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another." Galatians 5:13 ESV

The question is—do we?  Are we "one another" focused?

Truth is sometimes we are
           and sometimes we aren't.
Usually obedience depends on
   —whether I am busy with "me stuff"
   —whether taking action is safe,  convenient, or pleasant
    —whether I get a return on my time
     —weather—all kinds, inside and

More than any other time of year, in February, around the 14th, the rhetoric around us centers on LOVE, making this a great time to take action and be obedient because many times for many people the day to honor LOVE ends up being
l-o-v-e- short......

       for those in love—a day never doing enough for our "only one"
                                      or a day not getting enough from our "only one"
          for those not in love—a depressing day—designed only to magnify
                                                shortcomings, unlovableness
             for the widowed,
                   the divorced,
                   the caregivers of a spouse who can no longer "love" back
             —a day to remember, ignore and wallow in self-pity.

I know something about the latter.....the self-pity, the remembering, the ignoring—it isn't pretty.

Usually only God actually sees the selfish-pity, smells the stench, hears the inward sobbing since everyone else is too busy with his/her own pain.

So what can be done??  We hate ourselves for falling victim to the "You deserve to be loved." the "It is your right...", "Life isn't fair," lies.

"Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. " Philippians 2:3 

Paul Harvey (for those of you who remember) told this story years ago on his "Rest of the Story" radio program.

The leader of the Salvation Army, William Booth, just before his death sent a one-word telegram to all his officers around the world.  Only one word.  A simple word.

The word?? OTHERS.

And certainly the Salvation Army has been a picture of being "other" focused to this day.

Actually the word "others" is not so simple. "Others" a powerful word because it affects everyone in the world—either as a receiver of "otherness" or a giver of "otherness."

  "By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers. But if anyone has the world's goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God's love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth.  I John 3:16-18 ESV

Wasn't it actually for "others" that Christ came down to earth?  He came to do His Father's will, to glorify the Father, to redeem/save a people from their sins.  Others......it was all for others......never for Himself....NEVER.

Christ brought "love down" for others.  

"A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." John 13:34 ESV

And finally, little by little, we begin to understand that we were loved, deeply loved by the ultimate lover—Jesus Christ
    —not so we would hoard the gift for ourselves,
    —not so we would hide it,
    —not so we could use all that love for our benefit.

  No, we were loved [by Christ at the cross],
     am being loved [by Christ no matter what we do or don't do],
        and will ALWAYS be loved [forever]
              so we can love OTHERS with HIS love.

You see "others" is the opposite of "self."
By being truly "others" centered and focused we can't be self-centered and self-focused. 
So now to find "others" to show God's love and compassion to.

   Just look in your home, next door, across the street, at work, at the gym, mall or restaurant, in the church bulletin, on line, or anywhere there are people
        —pay close attention to their foreheads and imagine a sign written there—"Love me, please."

May each of you have a wonderful day,
      Loving others in such a way that you are love-filled with His changing grace
            Seeing God's showers of tangible grace and love on you every moment
                     Having the beyond a doubt assurance that He loves you eternally

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.  Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love."
I John 4:7-8 ESV

Post Script—I just went to get the mail and found a lovely card from a friend....a friend who is  "others" focused knowing that LOVE did indeed come down for EVERY ONE of His own—thank you.
 And then, in just a few minutes, a call asking if I was okay....someone thinking I seemed down yesterday—love in action, taking a little time, encouraging, sharing God's heart that cares—thank you.

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